When most people think about becoming millionaires, they fantasize that they'll have the next unicorn business idea or that they'll win the Powerball. You don't have to invent the next Facebook or find the Golden Ticket to attain seven-figure status, however.
The average person views millionaires and billionaires as mysterious and with a little bit of envy. But the truth is that much of their success comes from repeatable steps that anyone can do — with a lot of hard work. Everyone from Richard Branson to Stanford scientists have revealed tips and steps to help you develop the millionaire mindset (and bank account).
It certainly won't be a cakewalk and there will be obstacles, but you can get on the path to millionaire status today. Here's how:
Attain the abundance mindset
Carol Dweck, a famous Stanford Professor and researcher, spent over three decades studying what it is that separates top-performers from everyone else. The difference, she found, came down to mindset.
Successful people adopt an "abundance" mindset — they believe their talents are not limited or finite. For instance, if they are good at writing and marketing, they aren't afraid to dip their toes into finance. Less-successful people, on the other hand, often work from a "scarcity mindset," thinking they only have talent in one square inch of the world.
Getting to the abundance mindset all starts with stepping outside of your comfort zone and having faith in your abilities — they've taken you this far. Although you won't succeed at everything (nobody does), trying new things will enable you to uncover new talents and take that next step towards millionaire's row.
Set the right goals
There's a saying, "a goal is a dream with a deadline."
While others might dream about becoming a millionaire, the only way you'll make it a reality is through concrete goal-setting. According to Tom Corley, author of "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals," "70 percent of the wealthy pursue at least one major goal, while only 3 percent of those struggling to make ends meet do this."
What I have my team do — and do myself — is to set reach goals. We avoid the fear of failure (and often surprise ourselves) by setting time-sensitive goals that are a smidge higher than we think are possible. That way, we avoid wishing, but we still reach for the stars, and you should too.
Start investing (even if it's a small amount)
What's the one thing Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson all have in common? Besides their enormous wealth and success, they all have investment accounts. Take it from someone who started with only $200 and reached millionaire status — the odds are that you won't get rich from salary alone .
The beauty of investing is that you can get the wealth you worked so hard for to start working for you. It doesn't have to be a huge sum either — as Business Insider points out, if you start investing $500 a month at age 25, you could be a millionaire by the time you retire.
Surround yourself with successful people
Your mother probably warned you about keeping the right company in high school. You may have rolled your eyes at the time, but studies prove that she was right. Moods and motivation are highly contagious. If you're around successful people all the time, you'll have a better attitude and follow in their footsteps, and vice versa.
While you may not be able to change who you work with (at least, not right away), you can avoid the pity party. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem they're talking about. They will either stop their negativity or redirect the conversation towards positive solutions.
Read (a lot)
Reading is about more than enjoying a good story (although that's certainly a plus) — extensive studies of wealthy people show that it's the one pastime they all have in common. Lest you think this is just a coincidence, reading allows you to be a constant learner and it's proven to fire up new brain synapses and improve memory and focus.
If Bill Gates and Warren Buffett can find time to read in their busy schedules every day, so can you. As Harvard Business Review points out, "there are hidden minutes everywhere" — such as all the time we spend watching TV or going on Facebook.
Learn to say "no" and avoid FOMO
It might appear that wealthy individuals are extreme opportunists who leap at every opportunity sent their way. However, they actually understand better than anyone their success depends on defending their most valuable and non-renewable asset : time.
And that means saying no to the wrong things just as much as it does saying yes to the right ones.
As Richard Branson says, "Opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming." FOMO (fear of missing out) shouldn't be the driving force behind how you decide to spend your precious time. Only say "yes" to opportunities and invitations that excite you.
According to one survey, 85 percent of jobs are found through networking, and you can safely bet that millionaires didn't get to the top living in a bubble. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that almost three-quarters of wealthy people heavily network.
Let's face it — some of us aren't extroverts, so you might know this is valuable but still dread it. What you need to realize is that nobody is born a natural networker — it takes practice. Thankfully, even if you're introverted, you can pull off networking by asking the right questions and being an active listener.
The bottom line
Wealth and success don't have to be a pipe dream. For most individuals, these achievements slowly blossom from repetition and elbow grease. Try one or two of these habits on for size this week, and before you know it they'll snowball into major success.
Elle Kaplan is the Founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the Chief Investment Officer and Founder of LexION Alpha.
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